BELLARD

[BELL-ard, buh-LARD]

ACADIA

According to the Acadian Memorial in St. Martinville, Louisiana, Antoine, fils, son of Antoine Bellard and Marie-Françoise Galland of Picardie, northern France, was Acadian, but he was not.  He was living in Maryland when he married Marie, daughter of Acadians Honoré Trahan and Marie Corporon, in the 1760s.  

LE GRAND DÉRANGEMENT

In 1769, Antoine Bellard, age 30, wife Marie Trahan, age 22, and son Étienne-Simon, called Simon, age 2, left Port Tobacco, Maryland, for Louisiana aboard the ill-fated British vessel Britannia.  Also aboard the ship were Marie's parents, her brother Pierre, and five Lejeune cousins.  

No group of Acadians who came to Louisiana suffered as much as these folks to get to the promised land.  The Britannia (sometimes spelled Britania) left Port Tobacco, Maryland, for New Orleans on 5 January 1769, with seven Acadian families aboard.  Also on the ship were eight Catholic German families who, for reasons of their own, no longer wanted to live in a British colony.  The crew of the Britannia sighted the coast of Louisiana on February 21, but the captain of the ship, either through bad luck or incompetence, missed the mouth of the Mississippi because of heavy fog.  Strong winds drove the ship westward, and a few days later the Britannia ran onto the Texas coast at Espiritu Santo Bay.  The crew went ashore and located a Spanish officer, who suspected them of being spies or smugglers.  Instead of giving them food and fresh water, he arrested them and ordered his men to escort everyone on the ship to the interior post of La Bahía.  The passengers and crew of the Britannia remained at La Bahía for six long months, waiting for the Spanish authorities to decide their fate.  While at La Bahía, they were forced to work as semi-slaves around the presidio and on nearby ranches.  Finally, in early September, a Spanish officer arrived at the presidio with instructions for the commandant there to send the captives overland to Natchitoches in central Louisiana. They could not return to the abandoned Britannia because the Spanish and the coastal Indians had stripped the vessel so thoroughly it was no longer seaworthy.  On September 11, the Acadians joined the other passengers and the English crew on the 420-mile trek to Natchitoches, which they did not reach until late October.  Louisiana Governor O'Reilly, meanwhile, had decided that the Acadian families in the group would settle at Natchitoches because of their familiarity with the growing of rye and wheat.  Natchitoches settlers welcomed the newcomers and supplied them with food, tools, and animals.  The German families were told that they could continue on to New Orleans via the Red and Mississippi rivers, pick up supplies, and then settle at St.-Gabriel d'Iberville on the Mississippi.  The Germans accompanied the English crew to New Orleans and arrived there on November 9.  Most of the Acadians, meanwhile, refused to remain at Natchitoches, which was too far away from their compatriots to the south.  They, too, left the Red River valley and joined their relatives on the Acadian Coast and at Opelousas.  

LOUISIANA:  WESTERN SETTLEMENTS

After the Acadians from the Britannia refused to remain at Natchitoches Post, the Spanish authorities in Louisiana relented and allowed them to settle in the colony wherever they wanted.  Antoine Bellard and his family lived for a time on the river at St.-Gabriel and then crossed the Atchafalaya Basin to the Opelousas District in the early 1770s.  

Descendants of Antoine BELLARD (c1739-1805)

Antoine Bellard and Marie Trahan had many more children in Louisiana.  Their daughters married into the Doucet, LeBoeuf, Ledoux, Matte, and Pariseau families.  Antoine remarried to Marie, daughter of Acadian Jacques Foret and widow of Jean-Baptiste Aucoin, at Opelousas in October 1797.  Antoine died at Opelousas in February 1805; the priest who recorded his burial said that Antoine was 63 years old when he died; his youngest daughter was born posthumously six months later.  Most of his sons created families of their own in St. Landry Parish.  Some of his grandsons moved to the Church Point area of what is now Acadia Parish.  

1

Oldest son Étienne-Simon, called Simon, by his first wife, born probably in Maryland in c1767, married Marie-Louise, called Élise or Louise, daughter of Acadian Michel Comeaux, at Opelousas in August 1790; strangely, the marriage was recorded in the parish's slave register.  Their son Jean was born at Opelousas in March 1795, a son, name unrecorded, died at age 3 months in 1802, Norbert was born in July 1803, and David, also called Cadet, was baptized at the Opelousas church, age 1, in February 1806.  Their daughters married into the Carrière family.  

1a

Norbert married Marie Eloisine or Louise, called Loisine, daughter of Acadian Éloi Doucet, in a civil ceremony in St. Landry Parish in January 1838.  Their son Norbert Marsena or Marcellin, called Marcellin, was born in St. Landry Parish in October 1838, Joseph in June 1842, Alfred in October 1845, Jules in December 1848, and Louis Demosthène near Church Point, then in St. Landry but now in Acadia Parish, in June 1851.  In November 1850, the federal census taker in St. Landry Parish counted 10 slaves--4 males and 6 females, all black, ranging in age from 26 to 2--on Norbert Bellard's farm.  Norbert died in St. Landry Parish in January 1852; he was 49 years old; his succession record was filed at the Opelousas courthouse the following month.  In 1860, the federal census taker in St. Landry Parish counted 3 slaves--a 17-year old mulatto male, a 26-year-old black female, and a 15-year-old black female, living in a single house--on Mary S. Bellard's farm; this may have been Norbert's widow.  

Marcellin married Célestine, daughter of French Creole Don Louis Carrière, at the Opelousas church, St. Landry Parish, in May 1859.  Their son Joseph le jeune was born in St. Landry Parish in April 1859.  Their daughter married into the Gustave or Bieques family. 

Joseph may have married Marie Doucet, perhaps also called D'Araby, in the early 1860s and settled near Church Point, then in St. Landry but now in Acadia Parish. 

Louis Demosthène married Marie Alicia, called Alicia, daughter of French Creole Noël Olivier, at the Opelousas church, St. Landry Parish, in February 1870. 

1b

David married Sydalise, daughter of French Creole Zenon Carrière, in a civil ceremony in St. Landry Parish in July 1848.  Their son Christoval had born in St. Landry Parish in July 1843, Simon in June 1845, Alfred le jeune in May 1848, and David, fils was born in December 1849.  Their daughter married into the Miller family.  In November 1850, the federal census taker in St. Landry Parish counted 11 slaves--7 males and 4 females, 8 blacks and 3 mulattoes, ranging in age from 56 to 3--on David Bellard's farm.  David, père died in St. Landry Parish in November 1850; he was only 45 years old; his succession record was filed at the Opelousas courthouse house the following month.  

During the War of 1861-65, Christoval served in Company B of the 18th Regiment Louisiana Infantry, raised in St. Landry Parish, which fought in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana.  He was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee, in April 1862 but survived the war.  Christoval married Marie Louise, daughter of French Creole Étienne Latiolais, at the Opelousas church, St. Landry Parish, in August 1869; Marie Louise's mother was a Breaux.

Simon married Félicienne, daughter of German Creole Jacob Bihm, at the Opelousas church, St. Landry Parish, in August 1869. 

2

Louis Divine, by his first wife, born at Ascension, on the river above St.-Gabriel, in November 1772, may have died young.  

3

Antoine, fils, by his first wife, baptized at the Opelousas church, age 3 months, in September 1780, married Marie, daughter of Acadian Jean-Baptiste Aucoin, at Opelousas in November 1802; Marie's was Antoine, fils's stepsister.   Their daughter married into the Lejeune family.  Antoine, fils estate record was filed at the Opelousas courthouse in March 1827; he would have been 47 years old that year. 

4

Louis, by his first wife, born at Opelousas in August 1782, may have married Marie Janise.  Their daughter married a Janise cousin.    

5

Michel, by his first wife, born probably at Opelousas in the early 1780s, married Catherine, daughter of French Creole Hubert Janise, at Opelousas in February 1806; Catherine's mother was a Brasseaux.  Their son Julien was born in St. Landry Parish in July 1815.  Michel remarried to Françoise, daughter of French Creole François Gallien, at the Opelousas church, St. Landry Parish, in October 1824.  Their son Michel, fils was born in St. Landry Parish in May 1828, François in December 1830, and Cyprien in March 1833.  By the 1840s, they had moved to Calcasieu Parish. 

5a

Julien, by his first wife, married fellow Acadian Hélène Richard in a civil ceremony in St. Landry Parish in July 1849.  

5b

Cyprien, by his second wife, likely married Élisabeth Beleau.  Their son Joseph Ovignac was born in St. Landry Parish in August 1866. 

5c

Michel, fils, by his second wife, may have married Pélagie Étienne.  Their daughter married into the Nerault family at Church Point, then in St. Landry but now in Acadia Parish. 

6

Youngest son Pierre, by his second wife, baptized at Opelousas, age unrecorded, in June 1799, married Denise, 38-year-old daughter of Charles Bourassa, at the Opelousas church in November 1831; Denise's mother was an Acadian Lalande.  Their son Pierre, fils had been born in St. Landry Parish in August 1823 but was not baptized at the Opelousas church until February 1832, Antoine le jeune was born in May 1832, and Charles in December 1833.  Their daughters married into the Lebleu and Matte families.  Pierre, père died at Prairie Plaisance, north of Opelousas, in December 1859; the priest who recorded his burial said that Pierre was 65 years old when he died.  In 1860, the federal census taker in St. Landry Parish counted a single slave--an 8-year-old mulatto female--on Pierre Bellard's farm.  

6a

Antoine le jeune married French Canadian Louisa Matte in a civil ceremony in St. Landry Parish in November 1853, and sanctified the marriage at the Church Point church, then in St. Landry but now in Acadia Parish, in April 1857.  Their son Antoine, fils was born near Church Point in May 1856, Pierre in March 1858, and Marc in February 1859. Antoine, père remarried to Marie Félix, daughter of Félix Peloquin and widow of Antoine Labbé, at the Church Point church in October 1866. 

6b

Charles married Caroline, daughter of French Creole Julien Lebleu, in a civil ceremony in St. Landry Parish in September 1860, and sanctified the marriage at the Church Point church in May 1861.  Their son Charles, fils was born near Church Point in October 1863. 

6c

Pierre, fils married Félicia, daughter of French Canadian Pierre Matte, at the Church Point church, then in St. Landry but now in Acadia Parish, in January 1866; Félicia's mother was a Thibodeaux; Pierre, fils was 42 years old at the time of the wedding, so one wonders if this was his first marriage. 

Other BELLARDs on the Western Prairies

Area church and civil records make it difficult to link many Bellards in the western parishes with known lines of the family there:

Valéry Bellard married Émelie Bellevue.  Their son Valérien was born in St. Landry Parish in April 1840.  

Joseph Bellard married Sidonie or Sidonise Frugé.  Their twin sons David le jeune and Florian were born in St. Landry Parish in September 1840, and Théodat in May 1842.  

Édouard Marie Billard married Eléonore Littell at the Grand Coteau church, St. Landry Parish, in April 1840.  The priest who recorded the marriage did not bother to give the couple's parents' names. 

Marie Bellard married Louis Doucet in a civil ceremony in St. Landry Parish in September 1859.  The parish clerk who recorded the marriage did not give the couple's parents' names. 

Appolaire Bellard married Octavie Lafleur and settled near Ville Platte, then in St. Landry but now in Evangeline Parish, by the late 1850s.  

Onésime Bellard married Caroline McCarthy or McCarty at the Opelousas church, St. Landry Parish, in May 1865.  The priest who recorded the marriage did not give the couple's parents' names. 

Sydalise Bellard married Anglo American Samuel Bell, also called Reed, in a civil ceremony in St. Landry Parish in September 1867.  The parish clerk who recorded the marriage did not give the couple's parents' names. 

Mélasie or Célasie  Macon, daughter of Macon Louis Bellard and Louise Miguel, married Dick, son of Lucie Richard, in a civil ceremony in St. Landry Parish in May 1868, and sanctified the marriage at the Opelousas church, St. Landry Parish, in June 1869. 

Célestin Bellard died in St. Landry Parish in June 1869.  The Opelousas priest who recorded the burial, and who did not bother to give any parents' names or even mention a wife, said that Célestin died "at age 35 yrs." 

Angèle Jean Baptiste Bellard married Shubborn Prescott in a civil ceremony in St. Landry Parish in August 1869.  The parish clerk who recorded the marriage did not give the couple's parents' names. 

Louis Bellard married Alexina Lavigne in a civil ceremony in St. Landry Parish in April 1870.  The parish clerk who recorded the marriage did not give the couple's parents' names. 

Julie, daughter of Auguste Bellard and Marie Josette Carrière, married Félix, son of William James, at the Opelousas church, St. Landry Parish, in November 1870. 

Valmont Bellard married Catharine Dixon in a civil ceremony in St. Landry Parish in November1870.  The parish clerk who recorded the marriage did not give the couple's parents' names. 

.

A Bellard family who lived in St. Landry Parish cannot be linked by area church and civil records with the other members of the family in the area:

Descendants of Louis BELLARD (?-)

Louis Bellard married French Creole Célese, Céline, or Célise Carrière in a civil ceremony in St. Landry Parish in May 1857.  Their daughters married into the Gautreaux, Lantier, Lejeune, and Thibodeaux families, and perhaps into the Damas family as well.  Louis, père may have remarried to Acadian Marie Louise Thibodeaux, widow of Urbin Lavergne, in a civil ceremony in St. Landry Parish in August 1858.  

1

Oldest son Louis, fils, by his first wife, born in St. Landry Parish in December 1844, may have married Louisa Lejeune in a civil ceremony in St. Landry Parish in January 1866.  Their son Louis Aloysius was born near Church Point, then in St. Landry but now in Acadia Parish, in October 1866. 

2

Octave, by his first wife,was born in St. Landry Parish in November 1849.

3

Pierre, by his first wife, was born in St. Landry Parish in August 1852.

4

Youngest son Joseph, by his first wife, was born in St. Landry Parish in March 1854.

NON-ACADIAN FAMILIES in LOUISIANA

Bellard is a fairly common surname in France and French Canada, so it is not surprising that other families of that name, or names spelled similarly, settled in South Louisiana:

Marie, daughter of Louis Beliard and Michelle Durand of Jalay, Diocese of Angers, France, and widow of François Diner, married Jean-Baptiste, son of Claude Lapierre, at New Orleans in April 1730.  

~

During the antebellum period, a French-Canadian family with a similar surname settled amongst the Acadian Bellards in St. Landry Parish: 

Descendants of Pierre BELLARD (?-c1847)

Pierre, son of Joseph Beler or Belere and Catherine Radidou of Canada, married Constance, daughter of French Creole Joseph Andrépont, at the Opelousas church, St. Landry Parish, in August 1820.  All of their children were born in St. Landry Parish.  Their daughters married into the Dupré and Mouille families.  Pierre's succession record was filed at the Opelousas courthouse in June 1847.  His sons do not seem to have created families of their own, so, except for its blood, this family line may not have survived in the Bayou State.  

1

Oldest son Pierre, fils, born in December 1827, died at age 2 in February 1830.

2

Alphonse, born  in April 1837, also may have died young.  

3

Youngest son Augustin, born in August 1838, may have died young, too.  

~

Bellards who lived in St. Landry Parish during the immediate post-war period were the result of the family's participation in the South's peculiar institution:

A succession record for François Bellard, freedman, son of Marie Doucet, freedwoman, was filed at the Opelousas courthouse, St. Landry Parish, in October 1866. 

A succession record for Louis dit Scipion Bellard, free man of color, was filed at the Opelousas courthouse, St. Landry Parish, in November 1868. 

CONCLUSION

His inclusion on the Acadian Memorial's Wall of Names hints that Antoine Bellard of Picardie, France, may have lived in greater Acadia before Le Grand Dérangement, but there is no evidence that he did.  He made his way to Maryland, perhaps as a sailor during peacetime, and married Acadian Marie Trahan there in the mid-1760s, after the census of Acadians in the Chesapeake colony in July 1763.  In January 1769, Antoine, Marie, and their two-year-old son Étienne-Simon, along with some of Marie's relatives, were among the hapless passengers who came to Louisiana from Port Tobacco, Maryland, aboard the English schooner Britannia.  After harrowing adventures in the Gulf of Mexico and Spanish Texas and a long overland trek to Natchitoches on the Red River, the Bellards settled on the Acadian Coast above New Orleans and then moved to the Opelousas District, where Antoine's many sons and daughters, including some from a second marriage, set down roots in present-day St. Landry and Acadia parishes. ...

Meanwhile, a family with a similar surname, but who were clearly French Canadian, also settled in St. Landry Parish.  Joseph Beler or Belere's daughters married into the Dupré and Mouille families, but none of his sons seems to have survived childhood.  Bellards described in area church and civil records as free persons of color or freedmen also lived in St. Landry Parish during the late antebellum and immediate post-war years, attesting to the family's participation in the South's peculiar institution.  ...

The family's name also is spelled Belaire, Belar, Belard, Belart, Beler, Beller.  

Sources:  1850 U.S. Federal Census, Slave Schedules, St. Landry Parish; 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Slave Schedules, St. Landry Parish; Arsenault, Généalogie; Brasseaux, Founding of New Acadia, 105; BRDR, vol. 2; Hébert, D., Southwest LA Records, vols. 1-A, 1-B, 2-A, 2-B, 2-C, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; NOAR, vol. 1; White, DGFA-1.

Settlement Abbreviations 
(present-day civil parishes that existed in 1861 are in parenthesis; hyperlinks on the abbreviations take you to brief histories of each settlement):

Asc

Ascension

Lf

Lafourche (Lafourche, Terrebonne)

PCP

Pointe Coupée

Asp

Assumption

Natc

Natchitoches (Natchitoches)

SB San Bernardo (St. Bernard)

Atk

Attakapas (St. Martin, St. Mary, Lafayette, Vermilion)

Natz

San Luìs de Natchez (Concordia)

StG

St.-Gabriel d'Iberville (Iberville)

BdE

Bayou des Écores (East Baton Rouge, West Feliciana)

NO

New Orleans (Orleans)

StJ

St.-Jacques de Cabanocé (St. James)

BR

Baton Rouge (East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge)

Op

Opelousas (St. Landry, Calcasieu)

For a chronology of Acadian Arrivals in Louisiana, 1764-early 1800s, see Appendix.

The hyperlink attached to an individual's name is connected to a list of Acadian immigrants for a particular settlement and provides a different perspective on the refugee's place in family and community. 

Name Arrived Settled Profile
Antoine BELLARD 01 Oct 1769 Natc, StG, Op born c1739, Picardie, France; son of Antoine BELLARD & Marie-Françoise GALLAND; married (1)Marie TRAHAN, daughter of Honoré TRAHAN & Marie CORPORON of Pigiguit, mid-1760s, MD; departed Port Tobacco, MD, 5 Jan 1769, aboard English schooner Britannia with wife & son Etienne-Simeon; lost in the Gulf of Mexico & held by Spanish at La Bahia, TX; arrived Natchitoches Post, LA, 24 Oct 1769, overland from TX, age 36[sic]; settled below Bayou Plaquemine, St.-Gabriel District, with other Acadian exiles from the Britannia, Apr 1770; moved to Opelousas District; in Opelousas census, 1774, called Entoine BELART, no age given, with 2 unnamed children, 0 slaves, 4 cattle, 0 horses or mules, 5 swine; in Opelousas census, 1777, age 38, head of family number 126, with wife Marie age 29, son Siméon age 10, daughters Modeste age 5, & Pélagie age 2, 20 cattle, 4 horses, 16 hogs, 0 sheep; in Opelousas census, 1788, Bellevue, called Ane. BELARD, with no wife so probably a widower, 5 unnamed males, 4 unnamed girls, 60 cattle, 38 horses, 20 arpents; on Opelousas militia list, Jul 1789, fusilier, called Antoine BELARD; in Opelousas census, 1796, Bellevue District, called Antoine BELARD, with 4 unnamed white males, 2 unnamed white females, & 0 slaves; married, age 55, (2)Marie FORET, daughter of Jacques FORET & Marguerite COMEAUX, & widow of Jean-Baptiste AUCOIN, 24 Oct 1797, Opelousas; died Opelousas Feb 1805, "age about 63"[sic]
Étienne-Simon BELLARD 02 Oct 1769 Natc, StG, Op born c1767, probably MD; called Simon and Siméon; son of Antoine BELLARD & his first wife Marie TRAHAN; departed Port Tobacco, MD, 5 Jan 1769, aboard English schooner Britannia with parents; lost in the Gulf of Mexico & held by Spanish at La Bahia, TX; arrived Natchitoches Post, LA, 24 Oct 1769, overland from TX, age 2; settled below Bayou Plaquemine, St.-Gabriel District, with other Acadian exiles from the Britannia, Apr 1770; moved to Opelousas District; in Opelousas census, 1788, Bellevue, unnamed, with widowed father & siblings; on Opelousas militia list, Jul 1789, fusilier, called Simon BELARD; married, age 23, Marie-Louise, called Élise, COMEAUX, daughter of Michel COMEAUX & Marie GIROIR, 7 Aug 1790, Opelousas; in Opelousas census, 1796, North Plaquemine District, called Simon BELARD, with no wife, 2 unnamed white females, & 0 slaves, next to father-in-law

NOTES

01.  Wall of Names, 11, calls him Antoine BELLARD; Hébert, D., Southwest LA Records, 1-A: 42-43 (Opel. Ch.: v.1-A, p.75), the record of his second marriage, calls him Antoine BELLARD of Picardie, gives his & his wife's parents' names, her first husband's name, & says the witnesses to his marriage were Silvain SONNIER, Charles COMMAUX, & Charles JEANSONNE; Hébert, D., Southwest LA Records, 1-B:38 (Opel. Ch.: v.1, p.77), his death/burial record, calls him Antoine BELLARD "originally from Picardie," says he died "at age about 63 yrs.," but does not give his parents' names or mention a wife.  See also De Ville, Southwest LA Families, 1777, 27.  

His birth year is calculated from the age given in the Opelousas census of 1777, not the ship's log of 1769, which is often grossly inaccurate.  The age found in his burial record seems too young.

In Acadia, BELAIR was a dit for LEGENDRE.  Was this his family?  Antoine dit Belair, progenitor of the LEGENDRE family in Acadia, was from La Rochelle, not Picardie, so there probably was no connection. 

What brought Antoine to MD?  When did he get there?  How long had he lived in Acadia/Nova Scotia before going to MD?  Or was he ever a resident of Acadia/Nova Scotia?  I have found no Acadian BELLARD family in either Arsenault, Généalogie or White, DGFA-1, only in Wall of Names, which I trust has found an Acadian origin for this fellow.  We may have to wait on White, DGFA-2 for the real story on this family. 

Stephen A. White comments via FaceBook posting in Sep 2012:  "Insofar as I know, there is no mention of Antoine BELLARD in any records of Acadia.  Like Joseph CASTILLE and Diego HERNANDEZ, it would appear that his first contact with any Acadians occurred in Maryland."

02.  Wall of Names, 11, calls him Étienne-Siméon BELLARD. 

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